At this point, the onslaught is at least weekly. It has become predictable. It thrives on victimhood. It is patronizing. It is insistent. It is the now steady stream of diaries attempting to reinforce Hillary Clinton as the Inevitable Nominee.
I won't discuss why the establishment wants HRC to run. I think we all know that. Instead, I'd like to propose a simple theory why the Hillary caucus is out early and often blowing their horns -- the Establishment fears a populist challenge. It really is that simple, yet I've seen no one put it out there yet. The reasoning makes sense.
Hillary is a terrible candidate. We know it. She knows it. Her staffers know it. Her cheerleaders know it. That being the case, the strategy must be to prevent ANY challenge. Any challenge sends shudders down the Third Way's greedy spines and makes her staffers sweat. Populist sentiment is higher in the country than certainly in my 50 years. Academia, best selling lists, blogs are full of it and give legitimacy to the rage.
This all comes at a VERY bad time for Hillary Clinton -- the epitome of an Establishment candidate -- and the Establishment. Hillary is to the Democratic Party what Bush I was to the GOP. The steady hand. The one trusted not to rock their boats. Hillary can SAY many things, but with over 20 years in the public eye, she cannot credibly reinvent herself as a populist. She is a creature of and for the status quo. But this is not 1988 where the public wanted a sense of maintaining the course; we want radical change. That's not something she can or even wants to deliver.
If her supporters can prevent any challenge, then the populism becomes almost moot, as the sane will drag their depressed asses to the polls to make sure a psycho like Cruz does not sit in the Oval Office to pull the level for the lesser of the evils.
We can also all look to Mississippi for evidence of what the real establishment looks like. The truth is, it is NOT Democratic or Republican, it is corporate. The Establishment pulled out all the stops to prevent the nutter from winning the GOP primary. And, what happened to Cantor is another abject lesson for them. Hillary's supporters are not foolish; they want to prevent getting to that level of risk so they need to shut down any chance of a primary challenge well in advance.
A variety of tactics to achieve that strategy are now in evidence, and playing out furiously in the DKos microcosm.
1. Gin up fear.
If we don't support Hillary the Right will take over the Supreme Court! Really? So she's the only Democrat alive who could win a national election? Of course she's not. The Right has never been weaker or more riddled with conflict and insanity, all in full view of the public, most of whom are still sane. Any Democrat with a decent resume, populist policy prescriptions and people skills has a very good shot in a national election.
Asserting Hillary as the sole future savior of the Court is ridiculous on its face, as it requires you to believe that no matter who gets the GOP nomination, they'll beat any one but Hillary.
2. Pound the inevitability drum.
Like any good lie, say it enough and it becomes the truth. It is simple psychology. If enough OpEd, blog posts and on air pundits tell us Hillary has the nomination sewn up, it'll discourage challengers and imprint that reality in our brains. Keep telling us a populist can't win and we might believe it, even as history is full of examples.
3. Play victim and shout down the critics. Insult them. Especially, dismiss them.
Call the critics misogynists, racists, purists, idealists. Call them plants, trolls, sock puppets for the Right. Whatever. The goal is to not let them have any credibility. Play the victim if you must. No Hillary criticism can be tolerated or given any air of legitimacy. Ridicule is a tactic that works.
Fight back. We have easy arguments and a record to go on that's not exactly stunning in its achievements. We have recent proof she's a failed candidate. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. That's all why the Hillary crowd has been so over the top in their criticism and insults of people with whom they otherwise agree and find communion -- they know she's just not that appealing, save for her gender.
4. Convince us the Right is afraid of Hillary, ergo, she must be good for us.
There's no logical correlation there. It may be true many in the GOP are afraid of Hillary. But many on the hard Right are not and are itching for a fight. Nothing will drive their base to the polls more than to pull the level against Hillary. But the truth is, of those with power and money, having Hillary run is a backstop. It's their hedge play. It's their win-win scenario. If a Tea Party crank gets the GOP nod, voters in a national election will go for Hillary. Wall Street wins. Big business wins. Fans of war win. Guess what though, if a crank gets that GOP nod, ANY sane Democrat will win, but pretty much ANY Democrat other than Hilary, or maybe Cuomo, would potentially be a major blow the oligarchs and their enablers.
I'm no suave politico, pundit or insider. I'm just a person who follows politics a bit more than the average person. Many of us here may be like I am. At 50, I've never seen this level of full court press so far in advance of a presidential election. I've never seen a faction of the ruling party work SO hard to convince their base that a person who's not yet even announced her candidacy MUST be the nominee. To me, all this points to an obvious reason: they are scared of a potential challenger, but they are terrified of a female challenger, as it removes Hillary's top political asset. She's a lousy speaker. She's prone to hyperbole and, well, odd assertions. She's acerbic. But she is a woman, and that is a legit asset (including for me). Yes, she also has ready access to establishment money -- it'll come in by the vault -- but the money won't abandon another potential nominee (save for Wall Street money, which can be offset by populist money). And if some freak like Cruz won the GOP nomination, even Wall Street might toss money towards a liberal Democrat.
By the way, there is one card they could play, but they've not, at least not in public. That's the "it's her turn" card. That card is a favorite of the Establishment. Party loyalty almost never buys national office, though it frequently buys nominations. Don't even try it.
What we, those without blinders and unbowed by the insults, can do is to continue to be vocal in our opposition. We can ridicule back their foolish notions of inevitability, which, by the way, didn't work so well for Hillary last time. We can, as a vocal part of the base, make clear to would be challengers that they'd have our support. In fact, let them know that any with the courage to go against the Clinton will be rewarded with the People's loyalty, sweat and money. Such courage would bode well to face the challenges any new president will meet.
Is it fair that many are deeply critical of HRC? To me, this is snippet does more to explain our position than anything else I could say:
"If it turns out to be Jeb versus Hillary we would love that and either outcome would be fine," one top Republican-leaning Wall Street lawyer said over lunch in midtown Manhattan last week. "We could live with either one. Jeb versus Joe Biden would also be fine. It's Rand Paul or Ted Cruz versus someone like Elizabeth Warren that would be everybody's worst nightmare."I'll close by saying I wish Hillary a long and happy life, filled with family and good health. She has suffered, but she's been richly rewarded for her patience and willingness to hang in there. May she enjoy the final years of her life. For sure no matter what, they'll have a level of financial comfort 99.99% of the public will even know. That's not bad for a husband and wife who almost spent their entire careers, save the last few years and a few before the Arkansas governorship, on the public's payroll. (Funny how wealth and time in elected office directly correlate? What a country, right?)
Most top GOP fundraisers and donors on Wall Street won't say this kind of thing on the record for fear of heavy blowback from party officials...
But the private consensus is similar to what Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said to POLITICO late last year when he praised both Christie -- before the bridge scandal -- and Clinton. "I very much was supportive of Hillary Clinton the last go-round," he said. "I held fundraisers for her."
...And if none of the sitting governors or a Wall Street-friendly candidate like Ryan can wrest the nomination from the likes of a Paul or a Cruz?
"In that situation," one Wall Street executive said, "then Hillary seems relatively tolerable."
7:37 PM PT: One last question. If Hillary is such a rockstar and we are all expected to fall in line, then why is she NOT using her supposedly poll-pounding power to stump for other candidates for the 2014 election? Where's HER investment to help the party?